‘Canes seek respect

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2003

CHOCOWINITY – Last year when Diego Hasty began his second coaching gig in Northampton County, he was said to be taking over the worst team in the league.

Northampton-West was picked to finish last in the Tar-Roanoke 1-A Conference that season, but Hasty led his club to a 7-4 overall mark and a 3-2 finish inside the league. That finish was good enough to lead to a number 10 seed in the playoffs and a trip to Roanoke.

This year, the Hurricanes have received a little more respect, picked third in the conference’s pre-season balloting.

Instead, they posted a second-place finish in the league wars, but through a fluke in the way of drawing for seeds, came in the playoffs with a number 11 seed.

Hasty’s club quickly dismissed fourth-seeded Jamesville Friday night, cruising to a 26-8 victory in Martin County.

Still, Hasty said his club could be the Rodney Dangerfield of the 1-A ranks. They get no respect.

This week the Hurricanes travel to third-seeded Southside High School, who for good measure, is the defending Eastern Champions.

&uot;No one is giving us a chance,&uot; Hasty said, &uot;but, I told our team that we do have a chance this week.&uot;

The Seahawks enter Friday’s contest 10-1 on the season and champions of the Four Rivers Conference. During the Four-Rivers wars, Southside claimed a key victory over state-ranked Roanoke and limited all-everything Trimaine Goddard to 55 yards on 22 carries.

While he believes his team belongs on the same field with Southside, Hasty is quick to point out how good the Seahawks are this season.

&uot;They’re very athletic, very quick,&uot; he said. &uot;Bryan Haywood is an outstanding back for them.&uot;

The coach said he expects the Seahawks to run a Wing-T offense with &uot;a lot of misdirection&uot; and said they also have the capability of going with one back and three or four wide receivers.

Defensively, Hasty said he expected Southside to play a 4-4 defense.

&uot;They’ll be in a 4-4, maybe even a 4-5,&uot;he mused. &uot;I’m sure we’ll see nine or 10 in the box and they’ll be coming.&uot;

For his own part, the coach said practice had been sharp early this week and that there were no major injuries to report heading into Friday’s contest.

The coach said he wanted his team to continue to prepare well.

&uot;I think we were more prepared last week than we were a year ago,&uot; he said. &uot;Still, I want to be even more prepared this week.

&uot;Friday was still new to some of our kids and I think they are starting to realize how important this is,&uot; he added.

The game plan for West is simple: use the offense to balance the defense.

&uot;If we control the ball on offense and eat up the clock, we have a better chance of cutting down on their big plays,&uot; Hasty said. &uot;Sometimes a good offense makes for a good defense.

&uot;What we want to do Friday is play ball control and shorten the game,&uot; he added. &uot;We need seven or eight minute drives which will limit their possessions.&uot;

West will have their chance to earn the respect that has been missing over the past few seasons when they travel to Chocowinity Friday evening.